Oh, Canada!

Happy Birthday Canada! Isn’t it amazing to think Canada is 150 years old? Quite an accomplishment to be sure but compared to countries like Great Britain we are a young country.

Canada has always welcomed immigrants from places like Great Britain, including myself. I was born in Great Britain and I’m 100% Scottish. I joke about being the stereotypical Scot — cheap with my money, stubborn and with a taste for Scotch — but in many ways that’s very apt.

I developed a taste for Scotch when my oldest son was at the University of Edinburgh. The stubborn streak was there from birth. I prefer to think that I’m careful with my money as opposed to cheap but that’s really just putting a nicer spin on it. I’m good at creative ways to describe things!

Whatever your strong character traits are, they usually work well in one sphere of life and are a distinct disadvantage in another. Being stubborn serves me very well in the practice of law. You need a healthy ego and determination to be successful arguing against opposing lawyers at trial. That’s part of why my old advertising line “Ever try arguing with a woman?” was perfect for me. Now the billboards say “We love arguing with insurance companies” which is my daily reality.

Fortunately Scots are also known for their disparaging sense of humor and humor can bridge the gap in so many disputes. I love legal humor. When I think I’ve heard it all someone comes up with one I missed. If you know a good one tell me! (My email is ssullivan@svsullivanlaw.com.)

There are bizarre laws left on the books too which are equally entertaining. Did you know one law bans visitors from passing a flask of whiskey through cell bars? Or that some cities have banned playing hockey on the street? I pity the by-law officer trying to enforce that one against Canadians. Furthermore a city can make all able-bodied males who own a shovel come out and shovel the roads in a snow storm. At least in Niagara they can then play hockey!

Until next time,